Quantitative characterization of field-estimated soil nutrient regimes in the subalpine interior forest Klinka, Karel; Chen, Han Y. H.; Chourmouzis, Christine
Site classification of the biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification system is based on climatic regime (expressed by biogeoclimatic subzone), soil moisture regime (SMR), and soil nutrient regime (SNR). A SNR represents a segment of a regional soil nutrient gradient, i.e., a population of soils which provide similar levels of plant-available nutrients over a long period. SNR is identified in the field using a number of easily observable soil morphological properties and indicator plant species. However, we do not know the extent to which soil nutrient properties are supported by these indirect field-estimates. There have been several studies that quantitatively characterized regional soil nutrient gradients in different climatic regions (see Sciencia Silvica Number 21 for subalpine coastal forests), but this has not been done in the subalpine interior forest (Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir (ESSF) zone) where soils are influenced by a continental subalpine boreal climate. In the study summarized here, relationships between soil chemical properties and field-estimated SNRs are examined and soil chemical properties and field-identified SNRs are related to the site index of subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa (Dougl. ex Loud.) Forbes) and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelmann) - two major timber crop species in the ESSF zone.
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